By Wang Wen, Dario Agnote
MANILA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Philippine new president Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to tackle the country's problems and rebuild public confidence in the government in his inauguration speech. Experts here believe he faces enormous challenges to achieve his goals.
Duterte won the Philippine presidential election held on May 9 with 16,601,997 votes, a lead of almost 7 million over the second-placer Manuel Roxas.
For many, especially the grassroots, Duterte himself embodies hope of change.
In his inauguration speech, the former Davao City mayor vowed to crack down on illegal drugs, high criminality and corruption, seek peaceful agreements with leftist and Moro rebels, and lift the poor out of poverty.
The 71-year-old politician believed that the "erosion of faith and trust in government" is the most serious problem facing his administration.
"I see the erosion of the people's trust in our country's leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people's lives better, safer and healthier," he said.
As for government's peaceful agreement with leftist and Moro rebels, Duterte said in his speech that his administration is "committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms."
The Duterte administration and the country's leftist movement had already held preliminary talks in the middle of June to set the tone for the resumption of the stalled formal peace process.
Negotiators for the Philippine government and leftist National Democratic Front said the two sides agreed on the agenda of their formal talks in the third week of July in Oslo.
The agenda includes the release of political prisoners, the mode of interim ceasefire and the way to speed up the negotiation process.
Even before he won the May 9 elections, Duterte promised to resume the peace process with the leftist rebels.
The government has been trying to forge peace with the leftist rebels since 1986, but the on-off talks have faltered many times in the past.
In mid-June, Duterte met with leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in what was described as a "meeting of a brother to a brother."
Experts believed that Duterte must make sure to install the most capable and competent people in the government, otherwise it will be the same-old story.
Emil Jurado, columnist for the daily newspaper The Standard, wrote on Thursday that he doubted the promises to end criminality, illegal drugs and corruption within six months would be realized.
"The most seasoned law enforcers, like former Philippine National Police chief Panfilo Lacson, say this is simply not doable. Unless, of course, Duterte declares martial law or establishes a revolutionary government," he wrote.
Earl Parreno, a political analyst with the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, said one of Duterte's biggest challenges is how to manage the people's expectations.
"I have high hopes in his presidency, but I also recognize that there are very high risks," he said, adding that his hope "is anchored on his sincerity and his bias in favor of the poor."
"He raised the bar of expectations really high: can he really implement his anti-crime and anti-corruption policies programs in so short a time? ... Will the masses feel these changes? How is he going to deliver these changes that he promised to the masses. These are the challenges that he needs to address," Parreno said.